Graphene is the key to tougher flexible OLED displays

Just think: clothes made of unbreakable screens.


You can already find flexible displays in your phone or smartwatch, but there's a good reason you don't find them everywhere: the transparent electrodes in many OLED screens are too fragile to take a lot of abuse. That might change in the long run, though. South Korean researchers have made the first OLED panel that uses graphene for its electrodes. The hyped wonder material is both flexible and shouldn't chip, which is more than a little important for a display that you're going to bend and twist. This will ideally lead to displays woven into your clothes, or next-generation wearables that can take a lot of punishment.

The approach works with very large OLED panels, and you can pattern it into custom shapes that fit your exact needs. Expect some creative displays, in other words.

Unlike many graphene inventions, there is a real chance this could escape the lab. The scientists want to commercialize flexible OLED screens within 5 years, and LG Display sees graphene helping to make that a reality. With that said, there's good reason to remain skeptical. Many, many researchers have heralded breakthroughs in graphene, but mass-producing it is still a challenge. The team will have to find a way to make these electrodes en masse for them to exist as more than a clever idea.